Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Okay, I'm usually a pretty reasonable guy. I get along with people pretty well and I try to go along with whatever. However.

The time is 10:15pm. There is not one other person in line at the Save On Foods. Why, do you suppose, a guy would take his groceries to the Self-Checkout lane? Could it be to bypass the milling throngs clogging the standard checkouts? No? Could it be because he just wants to make his purchases and get the hell out of the store because he's in an unsocial mood? Hm... Nah, this must be someone who needs a lot of extra attention.

Honestly, that must have been going through the Self-Checkout clerk's mind as I strolled up because she hovered. And she wouldn't take a hint. While I was pushing the lookup produce button, she told me to push it. Then she helped me find the pesky T button (for tomatoes). Good thing. I've been struggling with those pesky alphabetized letters since '07.

She was trying to help me to make room in my cart for bags while I was trying to shoo her away. Then one of the bags I was filling with groceries disappeared from the filling area. I looked over my shoulder and she was putting it in the cart, with me holding a grocerous item, with no bag to put it in. So I bore it. I was the stone at the bottom of the river, allowing the water to flow over it.

Is it wrong of me to be so annoyed at a person who could not take a hint and apparently didn't think I could find the letter 't' without her help?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

Note to the wise: This post will contain information and give away plot points for the first four and a half seasons. If you haven't seen these episodes and want to preserve a virginal innocence with regards to the identity of Cylons, etc., please go away. I will post other stuff later on but this is what this is about so move along.

So, I'm all caught up on Battlestar Galactica. Some thoughts:

Colonel Tye is probably my favourite character. When he was identified as one of the final five, I was shocked but the way he dealt with it in the latest show was brilliant. It showed that Tye wasn't changed by his discovery. Probably Torry wasn't either - a power-hungry bitch is a power-hungry bitch. Nice to see that some switch isn't just turning on and changing who they are.

As soon as Apollo left Galactica, I knew that he would be the next president. It wasn't even something I had to think about. It'll be interesting to see what they do with this. I think he's been one of the weaker characters, even if his would-be romance with Starbuck is interesting.

The best: All of the stuff on New Caprica, the boxing match between the old man and the chief, everything that comes out of a hybrid's mouth, Dean Stockwell, Helo

The worst: Early Tom Zerrich, Dee dropping Billy for Apollo (where did that come from?), Caprica 6 having visions of Baltar (seemed forced to me), Starbuck's problems with training nuggets, waiting to watch the next episode.

So, it's a brief babble on a good TV show and I know I didn't do it justice but I wanted to get something out, maybe start a discussion. Nah, who wants discussion, especially about TV, on the internet?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Christmas with Katie

On a Saturday morning where I was scheduled to drive out to Leduc to visit my mom, I took some time out to visit the cemetery to clean it up and put some decorations up.

Keeping in mind that it was -33, I hope you'll understand that it was a quick trip.

Katie's grave was pretty full of snow. 


Fortunately, I'd planned ahead and brought my car scraper.

Some quick work dusting and sweeping, and recovering all the little people from the snow, and the work was done.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get our barbecue lighter to light but it's definitely more festive.


With my new job, mom in the hospital and everything seeming to come together just a little too quickly, I've definitely been feeling stress.  It was good to get away from that and gain a little perspective.  Even if it was just a short time. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's not that I don't care, it's just that I don't care a whole lot

First post in a long time.  See title as to why.

I started a new job.  Most or all of you know that by now.  I'm contracting through Bisonweb Inc. and they have a contract with Xea Services Inc. who have a contract with 5D software who have a contract with the department of defense for software.  Convoluted but true.  Suffice it to say, I've been busy. 

The good:  I went into this job as a non-newbie.  This is the first job I've walked into since University where I felt like I knew the score and could come in and contribute right away, which is good, since contractors don't generally have the same lee-way for learning on-the-job as full-time employees.  Thank you, Intuit, for making me ready to launch myself into my next position.  (I don't rule out a return to Intuit someday, but it's not entirely likely). 

The bad:  My mom is in the hospital and has been for several weeks.  She got an infection on her hip and she's been receiving treatment for that. 

The not-so-bad:  The dishwasher is once again in the fold.  I had no idea how much I was relying on that thing until I had to live without it.  I guess a little perspective is never a terrible thing but it would have been nice for it to just have kept on working.

The long and drawn-out: Unit testing.  Testing, in general, is something that I don't like to do when I'm programming.  I know it has to be done, and I know that I have to do some of it.  But the amount I've been doing since I started at 5D is a little out-of-proportion.  Still, they're paying me to do it, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The short and sweet: We're having a baby!  Nature should take its course toward the beginning of July and we're excited.  Especially Lily who says that she'll share all her babies with the baby but if it's a boy, it's NIck's.

The failure:  I gave up on Nano very early on.  Generally, it's better not to try to write 1700 words per day when you've started a new job.

The win:  Barrack Obama won the election. Yes, I know.  Old news.  So what?  It's still monumental.  And he actually won the election unlike our ground-breaking woman-as-a-Prime-Minister-by-default scenario.  My concern with Barrack Obama is whether or not he can do the job.  I wasn't concerned on that score with McCain but Obama kinda came out of nowhere and smothered voters in charisma.

BSG:  We have one episode of BSG left until we're all caught up.  Just in time for the new episodes.  Must... not... spoil.

Football:  Despite being eliminated from the playoff hunt, Houston looks poised to turn in their best record yet.  A win over the woeful and embarrassing Raiders, and a home-win over the Bears and they've got it.  If I could remove the RosenCopter from the annals, we'd be talking about a wild-card spot.  Stupid Sage Rosenfels.

Books:  I've gotten up to 38 books this year, the most since I started counting.  Yes, it's not 50, but there *is* the new job, after all.  Best new book this year:  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  It's epic fantasy done right.  Doesn't stretch too many boundaries, but that's not what I read it for.  Good characters, good pacing, good world building and an underlying creepiness in the epic part.

Comics:  I'm reading the Sandman comics that James lent to me.  Really, really good.  Must... not... spoil.

Hockey:  Three times a week at the downtown YMCA, I'm playing floor hockey at 7 am.  Sean's made an appearance and all hope is that we'll see him out there again some time.  Nice to see I can keep up with a bunch of people I don't know.

That's all for tonight, folks!  Sorry there isn't more but who knows?  Maybe I'll generate enough energy and give-a-damn to squeeze out another post or two before Christmas.

If not, Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A stab at something new

I started writing last night. Just kinda let myself go to it. I got just about three thousand words out but a lot of it wasn't as good as this part. For what that's worth.


PROLOGUE – What Came Before

I looked up and kissed her on the cheek when she said she was leaving. I'd probably have kissed her on the lips if I'd known she meant forever.

Both kids snug up in their beds, I was distracted and incurious when she stepped out. I must have assumed she was going to get something to eat or something but I can't remember what I thought. It was just another night in front of the TV.

When I looked up and it was eleven thirty, I'm pretty sure I thought she must already be up in bed. That happened plenty, so I was careful and quiet when I went up to bed at two. I woke up early and got ready for work. She usually gets up – got up, pardon me – just as I am ready to leave. Kinda makes sense, now that I think about it. But she didn't get up. So I put off leaving. When it was obvious she wasn't coming down, I thought she was just mad or something. So I went up to see what was the matter. She wasn't there. Her side of the bed was still made. My head tilted back and I started feeling sick to my stomach. I looked around the house. After all, she could have just made her side of the bed. She used to do stuff like that to make me help out around the house more. She gave it up pretty quick when she figured out I'm pretty happy whatever. “Like a pig wallowing in his own filth,” my mom used to say. But she wasn't anywhere in the house. I looked out the window. No car. Oh, shit. She's been in an accident. That's what I thought, anyway. Wasn't the case, though. I called her cell. She never leaves without that. Good move. One ring, two, and a small voice.


“Hey. Where are you?” I was relieved but scared a different way.

“I'm on the highway.” Never one to give more than is asked.

“Why? Where you going?”

“I told you last night, John. I'm leaving.”

“I thought you were coming back.” That, I remember saying for sure, because it made no sense.

“I thought I was at first, too. Then I started driving and nothing in me wanted to come back.”

“Plenty in me wants you to come back. I think there are two others full of wanting you back too, Linda.” I don't cry much. Maybe at those stupid movies where they always have a fight then get together, then have another fight and then they're really together. And when my kids were born. Can't forget that. But I started crying then. I guess it makes sense.

“I can't, John. I can't do it anymore.” Sounded like she was crying too.

“Can't do what?” Like her life was so hard. That's what I thought, then, but I didn't say it. I was trying to get her to come home.

“Being a mother, being a wife. Cleaning. Always cleaning, and never any help from you with that. You come home and you play with the kids 'til they go to bed and then you watch TV. Every night.” She was letting it out and it kept coming out faster and louder until she was screaming at the end.

“I never knew you wanted anything else, Linda.” I got that out, even though it felt like I was punched in the stomach. “I never wanted anything else. I wanted a wife – you – and I wanted kids – Rob and Alice. I got what I wanted and never pined for anything else.”

“You've got more than that but you can't see it. You've got a job. You've got control over the money. We never go anywhere. I feel like I'm locked up in a crazy house with those two every day and you don't appreciate all I do.” She didn't get loud this time, she got quiet. For some reason, that hurt even more.

I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to say that I worked hard at a crappy job for not enough money. I wanted to shout at her that it was her stupid idea that I should control the money, that if she wanted a job, we could get daycare. It was cheaper now that Rob would be going into school. I wanted to say all these things, but the more she talked, the further she got. She was driving away from me, but her heart was already gone. I had nothing more to give her.

“What do I tell the kids, Linda? You're walking away from them and I don't know how to tell them.”

She didn't say anything. I could still hear the car motor and the faint sound of some Bobby Darin song. She always did love that Bobby Darin. I never thought he cared enough – I like my singers to care.

So, we stayed like that for a couple of minutes, her getting farther away in the car and me getting farther away in my heart until she said, “I gotta go.” And she went.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Doin' the Dishes - System of a Down

I was doing the dishes tonight, and decided that I would listen to a single album and then post my thoughts on that album. It might become a series, it might be a one-time shot.

I picked System of a Down tonight for two reasons. One, it was on the iPod. Two, I was in the mood for something a little faster, a little heavier. So, with no further ado, here are my thoughts on System of a Down's self-titled album:

I got System of a Down from James one day in 1998. I had originally thought that it was 1997, but Wikipedia, ever my faithful companion, tells me that the album did not exist at that juncture. This was during my "Roommates" phase with James. A time that was transformational and brought me out of a shell I didn't even know I had around me.

James was into different music than I was. I seem to remember listening to a lot of Faith No More and some old-timey lounge music at the time. James was into Korn and a bunch of others that I'd heard of but not paid much attention to. He mentioned this album and it intrigued me so I borrowed it from him and made a copy tried it out.

For the next several months (during which I would have the tumultuous ending of a friendship, start and leave the bleach factory, build bikes, build golf courses and consort with waitresses servants of the great egg) I listened to a near-continuous stream of System of a Down. They were loud, they were fun, they were sometimes annoying but they were almost always on. I'll give my thoughts on some or all of the songs below.

Suite-Pee - My only thought on this song is that my brother originally thought this was the title of the CD so my copy evaluation version actually has Suite-Pee as the title.

Sugar - My most vivid memory of this song is James singing it at Karaoke. Which also brings back the memory of Kyle and Erron fighting at Karaoke, which filled James with glee because he could run home (I remember him actually running down the street - boy got some quicks) yelling, "GREAT! I get to watch Buffy!"

Suggestions - I remember listening to this song on the way to and away from a movie at Silver City. I don't remember what movie it was. It might have been the second Star Wars prequel but I'm not sure.

Spiders - This and War? are my favourite songs on the album, for completely different reasons.


So, that's all I got for the first edition of Doin' the Dishes. Maybe there'll be a second edition. We'll see. There's always more dishes and I have lots of albums.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pick'em week 7

Sorry, guys. Been busy. Changing jobs and all that.
You guys have all the way up to the beginning of the first game to pick'em.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Week 7 Pick'em results

Week 7 was a much more successful week across the board. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that more games have been played and there's a larger body of evidence on which to indict the crappy teams and elevate the good'uns.

Or maybe we got a lucky break.

Team Miasma surrounded everyone else, pulling the mists over our eyes and coming out on top with 11 wins.

SD@BUF - Buffalo. I really have nothing else to go on in this game but Buffalo's at home.[Going by that, you picked the winner.]

PIT@CIN - Pittsburgh. Marvin Lewis should be on some sort of death watch about now. Every damn time I want to proclaim the Lions are the worst team in the league, the Bengals crap the bed.[The Lions and the Bengals... wow do they both ever suck.]

TEN@KC - Tennessee. I am honestly blown away by the Titans record, but I certainly can't choose the utterly talentless Chiefs to hand them their first loss.[I wouldn't say utterly talentless. Just mostly talentless. The way that Cary Elwes was mostly dead in The Princess Bride. And now they're struggling to find a quarterback. Not that they had one before. HAW HAW HAW!]

BAL@MIA - Miami. Baltimore is to offensive success what France is to battlefield success in the last 200 years.[Hey, the Franco-Prussian war couldn't have turned out too badly. There's no Prussia but there IS a France.]

DAL@STL - Dallas. Haslett may have coaches up some bad Saints teams, but he also coached down some good Saints teams. Utterly mediocre coach, running an utterly mediocre team.[Haslett is the MAN! That's all I got to say!]

SF@NYG - Giants. They'll be ready to crush someone coming off that loss. Seeing how bad San Fran's pass protection has been, O'Sullivan might be sacked 20 times in this game.[I don't think it was that many but he did get knocked around some. Bring on Singletary! He's the singletary man who could come in and save this flagging franchise. First black head coach in San Fran! WOO!]

MIN@CHI - Chicago. Orton beats Frerotte. Also, 'Purple Jesus' Peterson is the most overrated player of all time...Forte isn't.[Purple Jesus makes me want to pee my pants. That's funny. And what a god-awful game.]

NO@CAR - Carolina. I see a 27-24 type win in this one. Saints are solid, Panthers are better.[I think the Pants walked all over the 'Aints, didn't they?]

DET@HOU - Houston. If the Texans can't beat the Lions, the need to be excommunicated from the NFL the day after.[They beat 'em, but it wasn't pretty.]

IND@GB - Green Bay. Packers seem to FINALLY be cranking up their ground game, and the Colts run defense can't do much more than just watch opposing backs run past them.[Stupid Peyton Manning.]

NYJ@OAK - Jets. I sense a really, really awful football game. Something like 13-10 with a total of 179 yards of offense.[HAH! Way off! it was 16-13. And Jones had a good day if nobody else did.]

CLE@WAS - Washington. Have the Browns hired a defense yet?[No. But they still held the Skins to 14 points. They still haven't hired an offense either.]

SEA@TB - Tampa Bay. Seahawks are done. Bucs are scared their coach will devour their souls.[D-FENSE!]

DEN@NE - New England. I'm fairly confident I could put up 100 yards on the Broncos this year.[Did you see THAT pants-kicking coming, though?]

Team DEATH METAL tied for second place with a 10-4 record.

SD @ BUF: BUFFALO. I'm hesitant to make this pick, but I gots ta go with the home team. [Everyone likes the home team. That's right. especially when they control the power.]

PIT @ CIN PITTSBURGH. Bengals bungle their way to another loss. This is my Death Metal Power Chord Lock of the Week.[On-key yet again, team death metal. Good job so far.]

TEN @ KC TENNESSE. I'm sold on the Titans. [Especially when the only other choice in the contest is a bona fide lemon.]

BAL @ MIA MIAMI. Better offence, and they're playing at home. Over/Under on the number of times the announcers mention the wildcat formation? 14. [It was only run 5 times but I'm sure they mentioned the lack if nothing else.]

DAL @ STL DALLAS. Brad Johnson is good enough to lead the Cowboys to a victory over the helpless Rams.[Brad Johnson is not good enough to lead anyone to a victory over my son's soccer team. BOO BRAD JOHNSON!]

SF @ NYG NEW YORK GIANTS. Superbowl champs at home. Dig it.[Dug, Doug.]

MIN @ CHI CHICAGO. The Vikings fall victim to the Kyle Orton attack.[Or the Chris Kluwe dismantling.]

NO @ CAR CAROLINA. Effective Cajun Quarterbacking all up in this.[Mon p'tit fou poutine! STEVE SMITH! JON STEWART!]

DET @ HOU HOUSTON. Not even the powers of Jesus can stand in the way of a Houston victory.[Jesus? Dave Krieg? Jake Plummer? I'm confused.]

IND @ GB GREEN BAY. I think this will be the game to watch this week. Green Bay wins a close, close game.[Stupid Peyton Manning.]

NYJ @ OAK NEW YORK JETS. Oh, those goofy RaiderZ. Sean's team wins in a landslide.[Buried under what? Oh yeah.]

CLE @ WAS WASHINGTON. I'm stealing Liam's comment b/c it is entirely accurate.Last week was a blip. For both teams.[Liam's comment is all that is good.]

LVL @ TB TAMPA BAY. No Hasslebeck = no chance. Another Loserville loss, which, as we all know, brings me joy.[And me. Joy is important in this current economy.]

DEN @ NE DENVER. Just going with the gut on this one.[Going with the gut-punch on this one.]

Sharing second spot with Team Death Metal is team BisonWeb who remains the only team not to win a week yet.

SD @ BUF BUF I don't really know what to expect from Buffalo on a consistency basis but it's getting cold and Buffalo is at home.[Buffalo looks for real to me. They're scary with Edwards in the game.]

PIT @ CIN PIT In general, I hate picking the away team but I don't know what Cincinnati has at all. I have no faith that they could beat Pittsburgh.[Cincinnati's contents are known to me now. It is tiger feces.]

TEN @ KC TEN The Inbred Children of Uranus will continue to dominate defensively and while I wish I could pick KC, my head overrules my heart on this one.[Maybe the Chiefs will bring in Daunte Culpepper now.]

BAL @ MIA MIA I don't think Baltimore is better than Miami, so I have to take the home team.[When the chips are down and all is riding on one last toss of the dice, regardless of the result of the toss, things have gone horribly wrong.]

DAL @ STL DAL They lost last week and St. Loo won last week. St. Loo has Haslett. But I'm still picking the away team because they're BETTER.[I still contend that the Cowboys have a better talent pool but I think they overlooked the Rams. I expect St. Loo to come back to earth next week.]

SF @ NYG NYG Home team, better team. Angry team. If Carr goes in, sink the season, fire the coach and wave goodbye to any good players.[Played like the better team. No Carr.]

MIN @ CHI CHI I don't know who to take or what to believe but Minnesota BARELY beat what is possibly the worst team in the league last week.[And they keep finding ways to lose. Ugly, ugly game.]

NO @ CAR CAR I look for Carolina to bounce back against the Saints this week. Reggie Bush really scares me, though. He's really good at getting touchdowns.[Reggie Bush isn't scaring me so much for the next couple weeks.]

DET @ HOU HOU Two weeks in a row, looks like Houston is favoured.[TWO IN A ROW! (extend fist in celebration)]

IND @ GB IND Aaron Rodgers is looking like the real thing and the Colts seem to have injuries out the butt-hole but I am still going with the away team. Why? I don't really know.[Butt-hole Peyton Manning!]

NYJ @ OAK NYJ I can't stay away from the away teams this week. Kyle would be so proud.[This was one I should have seen coming.]

CLE @ WAS WAS Last week was a blip. For both teams.[>blip<]


DEN @ NE NE Rebound game? Dunno. I didn't want to pick this game. Both teams make me sad.[Rebound game.]

Coming in fourth place, with a still very respectable 8-6 is Team Kraftverk. Pretty good considering you don't know the players, I don't think.

SD @ BUF : A sad buffalo is a dangerous buffalo. BUF[They charged the chargers and sapped the power.]

PIT @ CIN: Trapped deep in the pit of cin, I fear the PIT.[The pendulum swung their way this week.]

TEN @ KC: Everyone knows that ten inch kc is just a banana. Silly KC.[Just in KC (case) you weren't paying attention, this game was rated a TEN.]

BAL @ MIA: bulimia isn't good, but balamia is a BAL.[Mama-mia, bala-Mia.]

DAL @ STL: cowboys versus latte drinkers? I'll take the decaf DAL.[The Latte provided much needed jolts of energy. Cowboys were roped in.]

SF @ NYG:Hulk smash, giant squash, NYG.[Hulk smashed and New York wished it would have been an away game.]

MIN @ CHI: I'll chi-min (chime in) on this one in a MIN.[Shouldn't have been so CHI.]

NO @ CAR: no car, no credit, no problem! nobody will be refused! You get CAR good time![warranty love you long time!]

DET @ HOU: House debt? That's a different problem, a DET problem.[DET is the problem. HOU's gonna win?]

IND @ GB: The G8 has the financial fix, trust the GB.[IN-D end, you were right.]

NYJ @ OAK: no joke, haha, ny joak at all, seriously... seriously.. I'll take OAK[The only one to pick the winner in this one. Well-done, sir.]

CLE @ WAS: Looking at the clues (clewas)that WAS awesome.[if only you would have been able to CLEWAS (clue us) all in earlier...]

SEA @ TB: See a tub, take a bath, a bloodbath for the SEA.[Bloodbath was right, the outcome was wrong.]

DEN @ NE: no retarded egg will beat sweet, innocent Denney any more, run DEN, run![DENNY versus N-E was like a retard playing by himself against a professional football team, that's for sure.]

That's it. Schedule for next week should be up soon.

Until more later on!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Week 7 Pick'em Schedule

Once again, with the late publishing, I'm pushing the deadline to Saturday at Midnight. Go crazy!


Week 6 Pick'em Results

Another week and another tie in the weekly pick'em. This time, it's between the two previously-named teams of Death Metal and Bisonweb. Yes, DM and BW sit atop the weekly standings with a less-than-lofty 8-6 record. Team Miasma barely fell out of contention (I blame picking Cincinnati). However, team Bisonweb could have won this week fairly handily if their manager had bothered to do his picks on time.

On to the games.

Team Bisonweb rushed through its picks, leaving the picks two short and went the anti-Kraftverk by picking the home team in each of those contests (1-1 in guesses). Team Bisonweb is wondering whether it is better to rush through the picks since they finished with an 8-6 record on the week and share of the top spot.

Chi @ Atl: ATL - I didn't think that Chicago could go in and beat a really, really good rookie quarterback. Looks like Matt Ryan wasn't a reach at #3. (At least this year. Vince Young didn't look like a reach at #3 his rookie year either, but Joey Harrington did)

Car @ TB: CAR - Yes, I got this one wrong but so did EVERYONE ELSE.

StL @ Was: I was so tempted to take St Loo in this one. I love the Haz and my fingers were itching for the upset but I didn't do it. I would have talked myself out of it. But I think they'll be better without the rape-enabler coaching their team.

Cin @ NYJ: Favre, man. if they win out, I won't be surprised.

Bal @ Ind: Manning versus Flacco. Gimme Manning.

Det @ Min: I thought this one would be a laugher. It almost was, as I would have laughed my guts out at Minnesota if Detroit had beaten them.

Oak @ NO: This one played out as expected. The Raiders are a freaking disgusting joke.

Mia @ Hou: Screw all you guys! Houston wins a game. And pulls an inverted rosencopter to do it.

Jac @ Den: Jacksonville is hitting their stride. I still hate them.

Dal @ Ari: I was going to pick Arizona. I put down Dallas and had every intention of going back and changing it. In fact, when Arizona won, I was thinking "Ha! Sean gave up on the Cards too soon! Good thing I didn't!" Too bad I did. Crap.

GB @ Sea: heh. Loserville.

Phi @ SF: I was waffling, I'll admit. I picked the home team because I ran out of time.

NE @ SD: Again, I didn't get this pick in in time, and picked the home team. Good thing in this case.

NYG @ Cle: Who knew? Derek Anderson. Braylon Edwards. STEVE HEIDEN! WOOOOOO! Kellen WHO Junior?

Team Death Metal secured the other share of top spot with an 8-6 record. Here are the games.

Baltimore at Indianapolis:
Indianapolis. Flip a coin. [Indianapolis flipped the coin. While the Ravens were looking down to see what came up, Peyton kicked Ray-ray in the junk and stole the game.]

Carolina at Tampa Bay:
Carolina. I’m just not sold on Tampa Bay. Plus, Jake Delhomme will use his Hard Target-esque Cajun accent to ensure victory.[Jon Gruden doesn't care about you. He won just to vex Sean Woods. "I'll show that son of a bitch who takes care of business!"]

Chicago at Atlanta:
Atlanta. Possibly my dumb pick of the week, but I think Atlanta can take the Bears at home.[Not so dumb. Bears taken. Ryan awesome.]

Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets:
New York Jets. Just like Sean Woods, the Jets will take care of business. This is my Death Metal Power Chord Lock of the Week.[Gutsy call with the PCLOtW but it played out and paid off.]

Detroit at Minnesota:
Minnesota. As bad as (I think) the Vikings are, the Lions are that much worse.[You think. You think. Well, the Lions are just a bitty bitty bit worse.]

Miami at Houston:
Miami. Liam, I want to pick Houston, I really do…but I can’t this week. That said, I’m sure Miami will fuck me again and lose.[YOU DON'T WANT TO PICK HOUSTON! YOU WANT THEM TO LOOOOOSE! But they didn't.]

Oakland at New Orleans:
New Orleans. I should have saved the Death Metal Power Chord Lock of the Week for this game. Oh, those goofy RaiderZ.[The 'z' is truly appropriate this time, since NO won in a snoozer.]

St. Louis at Washington:Washington. By a lot.[St. Loo with the Haz at the controls.]

Jacksonville at Denver:
Denver. Only because they are at home, and for some unknown reason I have something against the Jags.[Probably because they dropped your win total in week 6 of pick'em.]

Dallas at Arizona:
Dallas. You all know I love Kurt Warner and the Cardinals, but the Cowboys are just too darn good.[Too darn good at LOSING! Maybe not with Roy Williams and Roy Williams, though.]

Green Bay at Seattle:
Green Bay. I love being able to pick Loserville to…um, lose, every week. It brings my bleak world joy.[I didn't know your world was bleak. heh heh... loserville.]

Philadelphia at San Francisco:Philadelphia. Eagles win a squeaker, McNabb apologies for not being able to score more points.[If he's apologizing after that, that's just false modesty]

New England at San Diego:
San Diego. San Diego is bound to get a bounce sooner than later – why not this week?[Didn't need a bounce. They bounced the Patriots.]

N.Y. Giants at Cleveland:
New York Giants. The boys from the Big Apple take a bite out of the Browns. [but the bite was poisoned and Shaun Rogers is a beast.]

On to Team Miasma with the unclear and foggy picks that landed them at 7-7 in third spot:

Chi@Atl - Atlanta. Would not be surprised if this is a high scoring game. Falcons have shown me more this year.[No kidding. Falcons are doing really well. And Chicago is way unreliable.]

Car@TB - Carolina. The Gruden Scowl has no doubt deepened this week, but still isn't enough to stop Carolina from rushing for 200 yards and winning the game.[That scowl is for doubters like you... and me, I guess.]

StL@Was - Washington. The Rams have no defense. They also have no offensive line. A team of children would run rampant over their squad. Redskins are adults. Prepare for ass whupping.[But they DO have Jim Haslett. he got a lot out of some pretty bad Saints teams, too.]

Cin@NYJ - Cincy. Prepare for the Jets letdown! I don't like New York's defense, and the Bengal offense actually played some good ball last week. Favre starts trying to force another 6 TDs, ends up with 17 interceptions.[He did get a lot of interceptions but their defense is quietly very good. Look at Calvin Pace doing something.]

Bal@Ind - Indy. Their offense is going to struggle with the Ravens, but the Ravens offense...well, actually, the Ravens offense lives somewhere in Loch Ness, next door to the monster, and down the street from Bigfoot in the suburbs of Atlantis.[Their offense is wearing diapers and sucking on its thumb.]

Det@Min - Minny. The Lions might be the worst team in the NFL (and that's saying something in a league containing the vermin known as 'Chiefs' and 'Raiders'). They are such a powerful source of suckage that goodness is pulled in and dies. Luckily, the Vikings have two immense defensive tackles who can clog the hole, saving us from a world run by Matt Millen.[They may be bad but they nearly won a dogfight.]

Oak@NO - Saints. The Raiders are going to run the ball well, but the Saints are going to put up about 6000 yards of offense on the Raiders massively overrated defense (with a few exceptions). Darth Raider shall be totally faced.[Poor darth. No death star for you.]

Mia@Hou - Houston. Yes, the Texans will finally win, BUT ONLY IF they have to come back in the 4th. IF they have a lead, they're doomed. Bonus points if they do the world a favor and shatter Joey Porter's jaw.[Joey Porter showed the rookie Duane Brown a thing or two but at least it wasn't Brad Hopkins versus Derrick Thomas part 2.]

Jac@Den - Denver. Probably will be a close game. Denver can't stop the run, Jags can't stop the pass. Lots of points, and the home team gets the nod.[Jags... what... can't... what? Oh, I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how wrong you are ABOUT YOUR OWN TEAM! And Jay Cutler is turning into a douche.]

Dal@Ari - Dallas. I still just don't buy in to the Cardinals. This is the team, after all, that gave up 56 points TO THE JETS. They also simply cannot run the ball when they need to.[They gave up 56 points to Brett Favre. Tony "RI'm rnot ra" Romo is not Brett Favre.]

GB@Sea - Packers. Seattle is an absolute disaster right now. The defense is surprisingly bad, and their receivers are as reliable as the Dow Jones right now.[And as injured.]

Phi@SF - Philly. Actually a bit of a tough pick right now. Eagles have been unpredictable in terms of play quality, but they simply have a better roster than the Niners right now. O'Sullivan should have trouble making big plays against a decent secondary.[As much as all of us (except Kyle) struggled with this pick, it turned out to be a pretty bad game.]

NE@SD - New England. The Chargers have the look of a team that figured they were awesome, so who needs to really practice or work out? They flat out cannot block worth a damn, and the D is still stuck playing Ted Cottrell 'Just grin and bear it' bend but don't break crap., even though they're built for aggression.[BWAAAAA HAH HAHAHAHAHA!]

NYG@Cle - Giants. Wow, at the start of the year, this looked like a good game. The Browns were overhyped coming in. Will this be the week that 'Muscles' Quinn finally gets his chance? Or did some of that John McCain Anti-Magic rub off when he endorsed him this week?[Better than expected.]

Finally, Team KraftVerk limped to a 4-10 showing this week, teaching us that maybe there is something to "Home Field Advantage". Just think, Kyle, if you'd gone the other way, you would have won the week by two games. I'm not going to do a huge writeup on yours, mainly because lunch hour is over and I need to get back to work.

Sorry about the really late entry this week. I'll try to have the schedule up fairly soon (maybe I can scrounge a couple of minutes this afternoon) and deadline will be Saturday at midnight for picks.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

For those not In the Know

I have been leaving updates on Twitter (hadaad) and Facebook but for those of you who do not follow me on either of those media, and use this blog for all things Liam-related, I must let you know.

I quit my job today.  It was not a sudden act, brought about by a moment of rage.  I don't operate that way.  I haven't since puberty, I think.

It was a premeditated leaving.  You can look at my 200th post spectacular for the main reasons.  They're outlined there pretty clearly.  In that post, I expressed my desire to make another start.  However, since then, everyone else in Edmonton who was on my development team has left the company.  I don't want to be the sole canadian developer on a team in San Francisco.  I may be a decent communicator and fairly confident in my skills as a programmer but I found myself somewhat suffocated on that team when it was local.  It was a great project, and there were never a shortage of people to help when something wasn't working and I'm sure that would still be the case right now.  But I haven't grown as a developer the way I've wanted to. 

I am moving to a senior position with 5D, the blood company.  I don't know what details I can divulge about the position, so I'll just say that I'm doing more web programming.  The senior in my title is hopefully more than just a word and I'll be able to put my stamp on this project.

There are advantages and disadvantages to taking a contract position.  The disadvantages being a lack of security (they can terminate me with 2 weeks warning), and a first month that I'm sure will make me feel like I'm trying to wear one of Nicks t-shirts - stretched.  Despite the fact that I start my new job on October 27, I won't see a full (that's a full month) paycheque until January 1.  If you include the fact that there are startup costs (new laptop, accounting fees, startup costs, etc) it seemed prudent to chase a loan from the bank.  The only problem with THAT is that I am leaving my job.  Ha ha ha.  So they don't know how much I'll be pulling in.  Which basically means that they're less likely to lend me the money. 

Now I have other options:  i can go with an equity lender like Aaron Acceptance or Alpine Mortgage/Credit/whatever they're calling it on The Team 1260 nowadays, but while the interest rates are considerably lower on that kind of a loan than on my credit card, it's higher than my own bank would give me for a line of credit. 

So I wait while they check my credit history.  The fact that I haven't missed a payment of any type since university doesn't mean much to them, apparently.  *I* know that I can get the money together but apparently the financial institution I've been affiliated with for thirteen of the last fourteen years just "doesn't know".  it's frustrating at a time when I need to get some financial security, when stress is crunching my guts to mush.  But hey, that's life.

My life, anyway.

Until more later on,


Week 6 Pick'em: Get 'em while they're HOT!


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Week 5 Pick'em results

So, another week has come and gone and as always, (for the second time) we have some scores in on the In The Now Pick'em.

Death Metal is the song of the week posting a 9-5 record. His most notable was picking against the pack with Arizona over Buffalo.

Second off was Team Bisonweb with an 8-6 mark. They wanted Miami but talked themselves out of it.

Tied once again, this time with a dubious 6-8 are teams elCliff and drKyle. Surprisingly, they have not come up with catchy team names and came in last. Coincidence? Probably. But who cares? On with the games!

First off, Team BisonWeb:

TEN @ BAL TEN The Titans really scare me. Joe Flacco might be the next big thing but those Titans are strong.[I was RIGHT! Who knew it would come down to Kerry Collins?]

KC @ CAR CAR Last week aside, KC is not very good. Carolina is.[No KFC this week!]

CHI @ DET CHI Taking the road team for the second time but Detroit doesn't have it this year (again). Chicago might not either but they've got more of it. Whatever it is.[Home team or not, Detroit is quickly becoming an embarrassment.]

ATL @ GB GB Home team, better team. I'm worried about Quarterback but their defense could win this game for them.[Wow. Was I ever wrong? Turner the Burner looks like he's for REAL!]

IND @ HOU HOU That's right, baby! Home team![I had it! Glory was in my grasp. But then I fumbled it in a flat spin.]

SD @ MIA SD Ridiculously, this is the hardest game for me to pick this week. I like the life the Dolphins are showing but there are too many weapons on SD's offense.[Nice to know that I was wrong but I was almost not so much wrong or something.]

SEA @ NYG NYG Home team, better team. I'm worried about Quarterback but their defense could win this game for them.[Why was I worried about quarterback? What is wrong with my brain?]

WAS @ PHI PHI They're close but Philadelphia is the home team.[Home field advantage, apparently, doesn't play as heavy as it used to.]
TB @ DEN DEN Cutler, Marshall and the new kid. This is a good team. They'll rebound from last week's embarrassment.[Not the way I thought it would play out, but it played.]

BUF @ ARI BUF Better team usually wins. No Boldin.[I... um... I think the better team won.]

CIN @ DAL DAL Better team, home team, what does Cincy have?[What does Cincy have? NOTHING! HAHAHAHAHA!]

NE @ SF NE My heart says that New England will win this one. SF doesn't have the weapons to expose NE's weaknesses on Defense.[When both teams struggle, go for the team with the better coach. Belli is better than Nolan.]


MIN @ NO NO Home team, better team.[Sometimes you just don't win.]

Next is Team elCliff:

TEN@BAL - Ravens. Tennessee's bound for a letdown at some point, and the Ravens defense is still healthy.[Healthy but crappy! letdown... pff]

KC@CAR - Panthers. The Chiefs got their one win for the year, and can return to hoping to possibly reach the heights of mediocrity from this point on.[Mediocrity? That's a bigger pipe dream than solar power.]

CHI@DET - Bears. I don't think they're that great, but the Lions' air carrier seems to have misplaced their defense, and it still hasn't been returned.[At least their uniforms are still clean or something. And nobody's gone through the drivethrough naked this year.]

ATL@GB - Packers. Atlanta's defensive backs would be challenged to consistently cover me.[Maybe you should make that call to Al Davis.]

IND@HOU - Colts. The Houston defense has shown me absolutely nothing this year to make me believe this won't be the Colts breakout game offensively.[Sure, if you call 21 points in 3.5 minutes offensive breakout... I just call it offensive.]

SD@MIA - Chargers. Miami WILL score against the once good Charger D, now that it's been rendered a eunuch by Ted Cottrell's pitiful play calling. However, the Chargers will demolish the Dolphins excuse for a D.[I wish I'd called this one otherwise. There's something about those Dolphins this year.]

SEA@NYG - Giants. The Seattle wideouts are finally coming back, but there's going to be some rust.[Coming back but still sucking, dropping passes and getting reinjured.]

WAS@PHI - Eagles. Close game, but the Skins are probably STILL boozing it up over their giant win last week.[Maybe they play better drunk.]

TB@DEN - Denver. The Broncos comes out angry, so does Jon Gruden. Unfortunately, while Denver PLAYS the games, Gruden just LOOKS at them and makes faces. That doesn't stop many plays.[Coach scowl can't be happy with playing his team's kind of game and losing.]

BUF@ARI - Buffalo. Anquan Boldin's still trying to find his head, and Kurt Warner is just a few more of those awful performances away from returning to stocking shelves at the Shop n' Save.[He apparently almost retired last week but changed his mind.]

CIN@DAL - Cowboys. By about 50. This is going to be about as fair a fight as that loan Chinese guy versus those tanks in Tiananmen Square.[Uneven, but not unfair. Unless you count the horrible Bengals "scouting" staff. "Hey, I've heard of that guy. Let's draft him!"]

NE@SF - Niners. The Niners defense is good. The Patriots is defense is good...unless you want your D to have any speed or playmaking ability, and their offense has fallen and can't get up.[They didn't fall. It was a cleverly-planned ruse by Bellicheck to trip up the niners. But I think some senator will start up an inquest to find out if pretending to fall is against the rules or the law.]

PIT@JAC - Jaguars. The Steelers had about 7 running backs get hurt against Baltimore. Najeh Davenport is good at taking dumps in the closets of coeds, not at running the ball.[Don't hamper his running-style! He likes dump passes.]

MIN@NO - Saints. Until the Vikings defense actually proves to be more than a one dimensional group of run stuffers, teams are going to throw all damn day on them.[Funny. The Vikings didn't run well, gave up two return touchdowns but still managed to win. Weirdo.]

Now for Team DrKyle:

TEN @ BAL: two balls are enough, go BAL[Ah, but you forgot the formula: Tennis ball. TEN IS BAL! So they don't only own them. They ARE them. There's no way the Ravens could have won.]

KC @ CAR: kick a car? nice KC[Ah, but the CAR KCed back.]

CHI @ DET: ok, I'll pick CHI just because I live here[I'm sure you're not the only Chicago resident who made that bet and is some glory (or some dollars) richer for no reason other than their proximity.]

ATL @ GB: mmmm.... grubs GB[Ah, but ATL ATE grubs. Sorry.]

IND @ HOU: indiana jones vs houdini... I think HOU[Except they pulled a disappearing act three and a half minutes too soon.]

SD @ MIA: Mama MIA![Once again, Kyle's spyglass picks an upset. Good job, Kyle.]

SEA @ NYG: i sea you nygga, talkin all badass... go NYG go[Racism, while not condoned by In The Now apparently works for Kyle.]

WAS @ PHI: i was phiiling so nice, yes I WAS[Good job again. Your PHIILING was right.]

TB @ DEN: go in da tub den, and get yerself clean, in da TB[I'd rather watch TV in the DEN.]

BUF @ ARI: getting BUFfer by the minute[Maybe they got caught with steroids, then.]

CIN @ DAL: CINDAreLla, a house favorite, CIN[Too bad it wasn't a slipper but a sanDAL.]

NE @ SF: north east versus south fest? that's not right... NE[NE-one could have picked that one.]

PIT @ JAC: it's the PITs[JAC's pass defense? Why yes, it is.]

MIN @ NO: minnows... swimming, NO?[You were our only hope for a winner on this one.]

Finally, The Disco Blog-o-rama's Team Death Metal:

TEN @ BAL: Baltimore, because they're at home. And their QB has an awesome name.[Amadeus, however, got rocked. No win for Falco.]

KC @ CAR: Oh Carolina. Kansas has Larry Johnson and...well, yeah.[Tony Gonzalez. But they still suck.]

CHI @ DET: Chicago. This is the Death Metal power chord lock of the week. I will give the Lions props for firing Matt Millen.[The Power Chord was on-key!]

ATL @ GB: Packers-Packers Atlanta has surprised me so far, but I don't think they can take the Packers at home (although the outcome of this game also depends on Rogers' health...hmm...).[Ryan ain't cryin' and I don't know if Rodgers's health was an issue.]

IND @ HOU: Indianapolis. No chance for the Texans, although I do like that...what's his name...Slaton? Yes. Good pick by the Texans there.[Thanks for the props about Slaton. He pushed my fantasy team over the top. But those Texans are just finding ways to lose. At least they're creative.]

SD @ MIA: San-dee. SD just has too much going for them.[Apparently, Pennington begs to differ. So do the Miami Defense.]

Loserville @ NYG: New York Football Giants. Loserville lives up to their name.[Loserville is not loverville. But they're definitely not fighterville either.]

WAS @ PHI: Philadelphia. Aiee! I detest picking NFC East matchups. Still, I gots ta go with the Eagles @ home.[Good call. NFCEast matchups are a bitch.]

TB @ DEN: Denver. Unless Brandon Marshall slips on a McDonald's bag before the game, Denver wins big.[Denver wins small. But they win anyway.]

BUF @ ARI: Arizona. Probably a dumb pick on my part.[Dumb. Dumb. Where do you get off being right on this one?]

CIN @ DAL: Dallas. No contest here.[There was a contest. Just a very, very, very lopsided one.]

NE @ SF: New England I think this game will be closer than most expect? Why do I think that? If only I knew.[I don't know. I was expecting a close game.]

PIT @ JAC: Pittsburgh. The Steelers are just plain better.[Ha! Take that, Cliff. Take that Del Rio! Plain better! HA!]

MIN @ NO: New Orleans. I have nothing good to say about the Vikings.[And they say "Sean can kiss our asses!" Their kicker got lots of points for me.]

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Week 5 Pick 'em Schedule

So I'm behind schedule.  What else is new?

As before, feel free to put picks in the comments or email them to me at hadaad(at)

The games:


Please have your picks to me by Friday at midnight.  I can accept them until Saturday night because I'm late, but I'd prefer not to have to.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 4 Pick 'em results

[Quick edit. My original math was flawed. There were only 13 games so everyone has one less loss than I thought. Apologies -- The Management]

Week 4 of the NFL season and week 1 of In The Now Pick 'em was a rousing success with four teams stepping to the plate and putting their prognosticatorial reputations on the line. Three of the four teams surpassed .500 with yours truly bringing down the bell-curve.

But at least I had comments for all the games, unlike a certain other team.

My team, henceforth known as Team BisonWeb was 6-7. My predictions and original thoughts are preserved with comments afterward either explaining what I was thinking or mocking my choice.

ATL @ CAR Carolina Their defense is playing better and I think they can handle an improved Atlanta team. [RIGHT! Julius Peppers looked like he stepped it up this week.]

CLE @ CIN Cincinnatti Cincy stepped up against the Giants and Cleveland has serious questions on offense. [WRONG! I thought that Carson Palmer would play. This is why people who are good at this kind of thing look at the injury report.]

HOU @ JAC Jacksonville It breaks my heart to go against the Texans but they have too many questions on offense and have real problems stopping the run on defense.[RIGHT! But so, so wrong on why. Stupid Jack Del Rio, using Houston's penchant for 4th down gambles against them! YIKES! At least they made it close and forced overtime.]

DEN @ KC Denver Home-field advantage doesn't mean that much when you're as bad as the Chiefs are.[WRONG! Herm had 'em ready to play and Johnson took off his Huggies and managed not to crap himself. 198 yards! WOW!]

SF @ NO New Orleans I like the way the Saints play on offense. I also don't think San Fran is all that good.[RIGHT! I have nothing else to say here.]

ARI @ NYJ Arizona Despite being a long way from home all week this week, I think that Boldin and Fitzgerald will give the Jets fits. [WRONG! Okay, Brett Favre is now Jesus. He's even old enough... well, almost.]

GB @ TB Green Bay Not really sure who to pick here but I like what I'm seeing out of Rodgers. [WRONG! I underestimated the impact that Graham would have. But I am glad they won.]

MIN @ TEN Minnesota I hate Tennessee way too much to take them over the visiting team. I think that Peterson is going to run Fat Albert into the ground.[Looks like maybe my head was up my butt on this one. Tennessee scares me.]

SD @ OAK San Diego They came out angry on Monday night. They might be a little drained after getting their first win of the season but I doubt it'll matter much.[It didn't matter much. Oakland sucks.]

BUF @ STL Buffalo Will St. Louis win a game this week? [Buffalo still doesn't scare me. I like Edwards, though.]

WAS @ DAL Dallas I hope Washington beats Dallas but the Cowboys are looking really, really good this year.[Need to start guessing with heart. Head is stupid.]

PHI @ CHI Philadelphia DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS [Note to self: Bears have good defense too.]

BAL @ PIT Pittsburgh Both have solid defenses. Pittsburgh's got the better offense and they're the home team.[Too close. Missed most of the game. Another overtime shocker.]

On to Cliff who was 9-4 this week. Good job, Cliff! Not that I won't be mockful of yours too!

ATL@CAR - Carolina. My darkhorse pick from the NFC this year. Atlanta's played better than I expected, but the Panthers are a better team. [Dark horses are good. They're playing well on defense and the offense is actually carrying the team. Go, go Jon Stewart!]

CLE@CIN - Cleveland. Cincinnati's joke of a defense looks like a good remedy for a struggling offense. [Not the remedy you'd hoped for but they got the W.]

HOU@JAC - Jacksonville. If they can run the ball, they can win the's that simple. And I think they can run the ball on Houston.[Yeah, they can run it on 4th down. Trickerous cowards.]

DEN@KC - Denver. A team of retarded, legless monkeys would be the odds on favorites against KC this year. Tyler Thigpen? Are you kidding me?[DAMON HUARD! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!]

SF@NO - New Orleans. The Saints are pretty solid. The Niners are beating up on the injury riddled and the crappy. New Orleans is neither of those.[SOLIIIIID! Deuce had a good day, too.]

ARI@NYJ - Jets. I see a close game, but I see a Jets win that will give their fans a ridiculous sense of hope, making the inevitable failures to come that much more painful (and fun to watch for the rest of us).[Close... PSHH Pleeease!]

GB@TB - Green Bay. Packers come out pissed off. Tampa counters with Jon Gruden making the 'immortal' Brian Griese throw 7000 times again, then scowls for the cameras. Good team...or crappy game plan and overrated coach...I choose the good team.[Let's hear it for Ernest Graham!]

Min@Ten - Tennessee. As much as I loathe the Titans, and question how the Hell they keep winning, they probably will again. It's Gus Frerotte for Chrissakes! [Kerry Collins is better than Vince Young.]

SD@Oak - San Diego. Oakland defines chaos, and Al Davis looks like he eats babies for fun. Plus, San Diego has the power of an asswipe quarterback. In the battle of an asswipe vs. a baby eater, the asswipe wins, because the baby eater has no effect on adults.[Asswipe 1 - Baby eater 0]

Buf@StL - Buffalo. Trent Green will have 3 concussions by half time, then come out for the 3rd quarter in a Joe Montana jersey, thinking he IS Joe Montana. He's not. [Loo made a game of it but not enough. I think KC did enough to get out of Ditka's doghouse, though.]

Was@Dal - Dallas. Seriously, this team is scary right now. Come on, world, bring on the hookers and blow to bring this team down! [Hookers and blow, made to order. Also, Laron Landry over the top to shut down T.O.]

Phi@Chi - Philly. Actually a bit of a tough call, because we don't know Westbrook's status. Overall, though, Philly's the better team. I cannot choose a team starting Devin Hester at wide receiver against a team with a respectable D. [Well, you tried.]

Bal@Pit - Pittsburgh. This one's going to be close, because the Steelers are banged up. Still, I cannot pick Joe Flacco over Ben Roethlisberger, a man who not only possesses impressive abilities to bang drunken floozies, but a man who also can collide with a car AND WIN. [OVERTIME! That's as close as it comes.]

Team Death Metal went 8-5 this week.

ATL@CAR - Carolina. [Right, o Brief one.]

CLE@CIN - Cleveland. [Right, o Brief one.]

HOU@JAC - Jacksonville. I'm sorry, Liam. [I'm sorry too, Sean. But you were right. So was I.]

DEN@KC - Denver. The Eskimos could beat kc. [Funny that the only one you were verbose on was WRONG!]

SF@NO - New Orleans. [Yay! Stupid niners.]

ARI@NYJ - Arizona. Sadly.[Wrong. Happily.]

GB@TB - Green Bay. [Nah. Tampa Bay. Battle of the bays. Tampa Reigns Supreme. Green Bay changed to Loser Bay.]

Min@Ten - Tennessee. [Winnisseee.]

SD@Oak - San Diego. [Sean is a big Phillip Rivers fan.]

Buf@StL - Buffalo. [Jeans. Boof-a-lo.]

Was@Dal - Dallas. [Further proof that Seattle is Loserville.]

Phi@Chi - Da Eagles. [The Bears must have had Mini-Ditka on their side.]

Bal@Pit - Pittsburgh. [Jeremiah is shedding a tear of joy somewhere.]

Dr. Kyle went an unbelievable 9-4 this week, spoiling Sean's greater-than-.500 week and tying el Cliff for the week's lead.

If you're going to tell me how I did, why not play?
ATL @ CAR: If it was ATV vs CAR I might pick ATV, but since it's not, give me CAR.

CLE @ CIN: All football is sin, right? Let's take CIN. [If football is a sin, do they play it in Hell? If so, book me a ticket right now!]

HOU @ JAC: Hugh Jackman? He wouldn't be special without JAC. [Yeah, but did you bet on the Michigan Wolverines to win last week?]

DEN @ KC: Anyone who takes on KFC is a loser, so KC.[Kyle is the only one to pick KC this week. When you visit Edmonton, I will buy you a bucket of KFC to celebrate.]

SF @ NO: Just say NO. [YES! YES! YES!]

ARI @ NYJ: Gotta go with the ninjas on this one NYJ.[They sliced up Arizona's defense to the tune of 56 points.]

GB @ TB: Brits get tuberculosis, die queeny! TB [Not tuberculosis but a sprained shoulder that ended a comeback bid.]

MIN @ TEN: Ten is more than the minimum, so TEN it is. [I need to figure out how you come up with this crap.]

SD @ OAK: Only one is strong, like a tree, and it's OAK. [I think they have dutch-elm disease, though.]

BUF @ STL: Buffalo Steele, romance archaeologist... Oh yeah, he's BUF.[Digging up all the bones of the women he's loved - and killed.]

WAS @ DAL: It was the daleks all along, DAL. [You picked WHO to win?]

PHI @ CHI: Unlike Tai-chi phi-chi isn't cool, at least it still has the CHI.[phi-chi, tai-chi, chai-tea, whatever, you got it right.]

BAL @ PIT: who doesn't love to play in a ball pit? And it's no fun without the BAL. [But you underestimated the Pit Bull.]

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fantasy Football - Leduc Mustangs

Here is my lineup, going into this weekend's games:

QB: Brian Griese - Dang you, Cliff, you talked me into a deal with the devil. 

WR: Larry Fitzgerald - He'll play every week he's not on a bye

WR: T. J. Houshmandzadeh - Roy Williams is on a bye week and Housh is going against the Cleveland Browns. 

RB: Marion Barber - The Barbarian will start every week he's not on a bye as well.

RB: Earnest Graham - It was a tough choice between him and Forte, but Forte is playing a better defense.

TE: Donald Lee - I was between a rock and a hard place here.  On one hand, I have Lee, who's not as good and going against good linebackers in TB and on the other hand I have Todd Heap going against the best cover linebackers in the league in Pittsburgh.  So I went with Lee.  He's got a better quarterback too, I think.

W/R (where I get to choose between a WR and RB): Steve Slaton - Okay, this is where I get the "HOMER! HOMER!" chants.  I don't care.  He ran for 100+ against a really good Titans defense, he's been named the starter and that line is getting more used to Alex Gibbs's tutelage.  I think Slaton could be my sleeper this year.

Kicker: Phil Dawon - He's going against Cincinnati's defense so he should get some points.

Defense: Minnesota -  They're the defense that the autodraft gave me and I see no reason to replace them.  They get good pressure with just their line, and they're going against Kerry Collins so the ball will be available for picking off.


RB: Matt Forte - He's a good guy for me to have but he's going against that Philly defense that's looking awful good this year.

QB: Jason Campbell - I want to start him but Dallas also has a really strong defense and Green Bay (who Griese faces) only has a pretty good defense.

WR: Roy Williams - Bye week

WR: Isaac Bruce - I was tempted to put him in and I'm still flip-flopping about this.  I could move Slaton to RB and throw Bruce into the W/R slot.  It's a risk, though, because he's older than time.

TE: Todd Heap - He's going against that Pittsburgh defense and his quarterback is a rookie.  I wish I had Pitt's defense this week.

Kicker: Ryan Longwell - Given Minnesota's inability to put the ball in the endzone, he would likely be a good guy to start this week as well but with the mountain of points that Cleveland and Cincinnati are likely to score against each other, I couldn't pass on Dawson.

So, what do you think?  Should I move Bruce into the starting lineup?  Is there any other glaring mistake I've made?

Let me know your opinions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pick'em for week FOUR!

Week four!

Without much preamble, here's the first slate of games for In The Now's Pick'em:


Cut-off for this week is Friday, midnight. Send me your picks in comments or to my gmail inbox before then and you get to play.

Good luck!


In The Now's Pick'em for the NFL

Despite the fact that I'm starting on week 4 of the NFL season, I'm starting.

In the tradition of Sean's Blog-o-rama's Death Metal Challenge, I am picking up the ball and running with it.

Here's how it works.  I will post the upcoming slate of games here.  Those interested will either put the winners in a comment to the blog or if you're worried about copy-cats, send them to me in email hadaad(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Cut-off for the guesses will be Friday night (Wednesday night in the event of a Thursday game).  I will post everyone's guesses after the cut-off and the results after the Monday Night game. 

If you want to post an explanation of why you think which team will win, I will post that as well.  That was a good touch for the DMC.

I am sending out an email to people I think will be interested but it is not limited to those people.  If you are interested, please feel free to post in the comments or send me an email.  I'll keep track of the standings and heap praise on the weekly winners.  Perhaps even a haiku epic for the overall winner at the end of week seventeen.

Good luck to all of you who plan on entering.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

After a Brief Hiatus - or - Despite Rumours to the Contrary

So yeah, it's been awhile since I last posted.  I know that my nagging of some of you smacks of hypocrisy now but maybe it's a sign of something that nobody has given me grief over this.

Nevertheless, and nonplused, I press on.  This is, after all, my blog and if I'm only writing for the people who read it, I'm doing it wrong.

It's not like I haven't had anything to write about.  There's another story to go up here from the monthly workshop (I skipped out this month) but I haven't felt any pressing need to get it up there.

I've had frustrations at work that I could probably deal with more easily if I'd written about it and gotten it off my chest.

Call it mental fatigue, call it frustration, stress, whatever you want.  It feels like I'm waiting for something.  I am, in fact, waiting for something, but that's for dealing with when it comes.

At any rate, I'm still alive, I'm still online and you can expect more content at a higher rate than you have been treated to lately.

What's new: 

  • I'm in the beginning stages of a weight-loss challenge.  I've set myself the lofty goal of losing 45 pounds.  I don't have a set time limit, I don't really have a plan as such except that I'm doing more exercise and trying to be less of an idiot about the things I throw down my gob.
  • I've started distance-running.  I blame Kim for this as she completed her half-marathon on a sweltering August morning.  So far, I've completed several 5km runs, three or four 9km runs, a 10 km run and a 16km run, as well as one that was intended as a 9km run but had to be cut short because of some toe-related issues and ended up as 6.66km.
  • I've read 30 books this year, so far.  Unfortunately, a lot of them have been purchased this year, so my "Books To Be Read" pile isn't really decreasing all that quickly but hey, a goal's a goal.

I'd give you more updates but we got cable and my wife is watching a train-wreck of a show.

Until more later on,



Saturday, August 02, 2008

Armo Mazzenisto

The following is a story I submitted for a writing challenge at the writing message board I frequent. It's right here.

So the first draft was 1500+ words. This is what it looked like after I hacked it down to a thousand.

Let me know what you think.


Kellen stood, rubbing his eyes. It was time to close up the shop and not just for the day. Nobody used freelance investigators anymore.

He closed his eyes, enjoying the pull of a cat-like stretch. He opened his eyes and gasped, all relaxation gone.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."

"Oh, um... No problem." His startlement had become... something deeper, before vanishing. From a little girl?

Scanning her showed nothing.

"Kellen Smithson."

"It's my sister," she started. "She was taken by a mage-guild. It is time for her to return."

"I need a little more context than that," Kellen replied.

"We recently found out where she is. We need your help with the Shields."

It was not unusual for a family member to go missing. Kellen had personal experience with guilds holding people against their will. Could he challenge an entire guild? Did he want to, for this child's sister?

"I do not know enough about the situation: why or where she is held or what her release would mean."

The girl considered. It was unnerving to Kellen to see this little girl with the cherubic face completely frozen in thought. He wondered if he should say something when she looked up at him.

"I'll tell you what you need to know."

The details were slim and the guild's motivation unclear but Kellen, champion of the helpless, as he saw himself, agreed to rescue the girl from Armo Mazzenisto, one of the more powerful guilds in the city.

Outside the gates of the stronghold, Kellen felt the buzz of a Probe, no doubt placed around the perimeter.

'There are ways around a Probe.'

He tapped into the Probe and rerouted the Sensors to one metre past the fence - enough room to climb without alerting the guild.

The outbuilding to the south of the main keep held the girl's sister. Kellen walked, hunched, until he reached the door. He Listened and heard nothing.

'The Mazzenisto have too much faith in Probes.'

An Opening and Kellen stood before a young woman, suspended in air. He Felt the Shields that had been constructed about her. He was glad that there was nobody around to contend with, but even with all the time he wanted, the challenge of the Shields would still be daunting.

Nine layers of spell construction kept the sister from freedom. These were Shields on her physical body - keeping her in complete stasis, a Shield on her consciousness, a Shield on each of her senses and two Shields that he did not understand.

Kellen chose to begin on one of the unknown Shields. It was the simplest in design and the easiest to work through. Five minutes work saw that shield evaporate.

He moved on to her physical shield. He could take his time, somewhere else. An attempt to re-Route failed. There was nothing to reroute it to. Kellen decided to move on. Next he-

His mind flashed. He saw a figure that resembled the sister but with slight alterations with eyes casting a dim red glare and coal-black wings spread wide.

Kellen shook the image from his head. The sensory Shields would come next. They were the next easiest to remove. They went quickly, save for sight. Kellen re-Routed the fields dampening the light onto themselves, sloughing the last sensory shield away-

Another flash. He saw the same figure as before, changed even more. Talons replaced her feet, her legs were covered in scales, and her face was gaunt. Beauty and terror co-mingled.

Kellen gasped in surprise as he recovered. What was he seeing?

'Six Shields down and three to go.'

He Felt the consciousness Shield and decided to try that one last. The girl would presumably be upset if she woke up, still Bound.

Having found no ability to dispel the physical Shield, he decided to work on the second unknown barrier. As he did so, images flickered through his mind of fire. Buildings blazed and the figure of his previous visions had completed her transformation. Cities were destroyed at her command and mankind was set to slavery in a reign of fire. This Shield - a barrier against physical communication, he now realized - fell away.

The visions left him. Next was the consciousness Shield.

"You don't want to do that, just yet."

Kellen jerked back and tried to climb the air at the sound of the voice, so small and so innocent behind him.

He spun and faced the same little girl that had confronted him in the first place.

"You don't want to wake her up. We can do that."

"What- who is she?" Kellen asked. "You got in here, you can wake her up - why did you need me?"

"None of the shields presented a problem to us but the last. It requires a... price. One we cannot pay."

And then he knew. He knew where the visions came from, he knew what the family was, and he knew what lay in store for humanity.

"But what of humanity?" He knew it was absurd looking to this thing for assurance.

"There will be no war. Humanity will have its place."

"But the fires, the destruction-"

"All revolutions come to that in the end. It will be quick."

"Will I-" he could not finish the question.

"You will function, in a sense."

"My magic?" Immortality was all well and good but that price was unbearable.

"You know the answer to that," the girl replied.

And he did know the answer.

"I could replace the shields and walk away. You would not have your uprising."

"That is true. You could do that." The girl did not move, only continued looking at him.

A moment's pause and Kellen returned to the form of the young woman. He knew what to do. Redirecting the suspension field to encompass him, Kellen bound the spell and traded places with the demon that had been held by the Armo Mazzenisto, the self-styled Guardians of Humanity.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Dream

That is, my dream at night, not my dream like "I'd love to see this come true" (though that might be true as well):

In the outdoor pool, pool-bully swimming around, holding people's heads under water.  Until:

Hulk Hogan. 

"I'm gonna dunk you, Hulkster!"

Hulk says nothing.

Pool-bully attempts to dunk Hulk.  Hulk doesn't move.

Pool-bully pushes down on Hulk's head, leaving him open for:

The body slam.  Only it's not a normal body slam.  Hulk rears up and throws pool-bully out of the pool. 

Then I woke up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Windows Live Writer - or - MS finally gets it right

So, I generally don't have anything too bad to say about Microsoft.  I use their products when I have to, I go Open Source when it's available, but I have to admit, I'm pretty darned impressed with Windows Live Writer.

Despite the fact that this is the first time I've used it, I see no reason to continue using Firefox Scribefire or trying like crazy to get's blogger add-on working.

This is basically a test to see what the functionality of the thing is and, well, so far, so good.


Pictures work.


Links (even self-referential ones like this one) work.

Tables Work

Map image

This is basically the <gasp!> moment for me.  You can import maps really easily.  So I could, like, show you guys where I bike to work every day.

Good form, Microsoft!

Monday, July 07, 2008


We've been through some good times and we've also seen our share of hard times. I won't kid you – some of those hard times are the happiest in my life. Lately, though, there's a lot that's been on my mind. I'll admit that I haven't been perfect. I don't know that my lack of perfection has been enough to justify the way you've been treating me.

It started last July. That's what I would call the end of the “Honeymoon Phase.” I went out of town and you told everyone you were thinking of breaking up with me. Oh sure, you took it all back and accused Susan of blabbing secrets you told to her but it definitely set the tone. That pushed Chris away. He even moved to Calgary to get away.

Then, in February, you canceled our favourite “Activity.” We'd been doing it for a year and a half and you just squashed it. (We were even getting pretty good at it) Sure, we've bounced around from one thing to another since then, and it seems like we've found new common ground but it seems like nothing will ever be better than that one special thing. And it really had the potential to be something.

Then you passive-aggresively drove away two of my friends. Gustavo and Wenpan noticed the cold shoulder you gave them and they left.

The latest thing, and the one that pushed me to write this, was that I went out of town again, and you told people that it was Marius or me. When I got back, I found you'd kicked Marius out.

I've done some research and I want to share a list with you:

Signs your relationship is failing:

  1. You look less forward to seeing each other. -- Have you noticed that I've started coming around a little later? Have you cared?

  2. You find it harder to focus on the needs of your partner. -- Have you noticed how soul-wrenchingly hard it has been for me to concentrate on things? How my mind has been wandering when you need my attention?

  3. Your devotion to your partner is less and your thoughts begin to stray to another. -- Yes, it's been good, but others have told me I'm a catch and I thought I would send out a letter gauging interest. Nothing has happened but there was definite interest on their part.

  4. You hang on to a reason to stay with your partner even if you're unhappy. -- It's the money. I've tried substituting the money for happiness. All that's made me is broke.

  5. The wrongs that your partner has done you dominate your thoughts and you keep coming back to them. -- This is the most pressing and telling of the signs listed, in my mind. I've tried being happy, laughing it off, even, shamefully, mocking you behind your back. None of that has worked.

Everything seems to point to a failed relationship and there are those who say I should just take the money and cut bait. But I don't want that, even if there are others out there who say they'd treat me better.

Father Roger once told me that love is a choice. Sure, it always starts out grand but once things become real, you have to choose to keep loving your partner in order to keep things going.

I'm not ready to give up on you, Intuit and I think that if we start choosing to treat each other better, things can be not only like they were before but better and we can stay together and laugh at all the people who thought we wouldn't last.

I'm not going anywhere, and I will see you tomorrow.

Ready to start over,


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz/The Marvelous World of Oz

A Book Report Double-Feature

After Nick and I finished the Prydain Chronicles, a wonderful young-adult series that I read when I was a child and was eagerly anticipating telling to Nick, I wasn’t sure where to turn. Eventually, though, I figured that The Wizard of Oz was a good movie, so the book should be pretty good too.

I was a little underwhelmed. The story is essentially the same. Dorothy and her problems are similar, the Wizard didn’t change either.

The Good

I liked the expanded characters of the flying monkeys. Rather than the terrifying and nightmare-inducing version from the movie, they’re a group of mischief-makers who found themselves in the limited thrall of the wicked witch (and then in service to Dorothy).

There were some more characters and more problems for the characters to overcome. The mice were a good addition, for example.

The Bad

When I watched the movie (even most recently a year or two ago), I figured that the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion had what they wanted in good measure before seeing the wizard but it was done subtly enough that there was always a little question. The book, however, hits you over the head with it again and again. All ideas came from the Scarecrow. All sympathy flowed from the Tin Man.

The Conclusion

I obviously liked the book enough to continue with the second in the series.

The Marvelous World of Oz

New characters join the Tin Woodman (now known as Nick Chopper) and the Scarecrow as the Scarecrow’s place as ruler of Oz is overthrown.

I appreciated an extended look into the world of Oz, as well as the new characters, particularly Jack Pumpkinhead and H.M. Wogglebug, T. E.

The ending was a surprise to me and to Nick as well, and the consequences will be felt in the third book.

The story did drag a bit, although that may have been more a consequence of a week’s layoff during camping than anything else. I imagine that Nick and I will return to Oz for the third installment (out of an eye-popping 41) with Ozma of Oz. However, for now, we’ve moved on to Pawn of Prophecy, the first book of The Belgariad by David Eddings. I know that Eddings is seen as simplistic and formulaic, but I enjoy his earlier books and I think they’re a good progression from Narnia and Prydain into more standard fantasy.

Next Up

How does one structure the 200th post of one’s blog?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

No Rant, but an Explanation

So I know that there are a number of you out there who gain enjoyment from my anger but I'm trying to pare back from that. I'm disgusted, and tired of the things that are going on with The Company but I'm not going to sit here and badmouth my bosses or whine about the way things have gone, especially when the real-life impact to me, personally, has been minimal. Yes, I've fretted, yes, I've looked for other jobs but in the end, I still have my job and I still intend on keeping it.

So, while I was on vacation, camping in the mountains, Intuit announced the infamous 575 jobs that they had cut. I came back and found out that Marius, my cubicle-mate, and my "Buddy" (new hires get a buddy to help acclimate them to the way things are done) had lost his job. He's okay with it. After all, he's been with The Company for ten years and his severance package is quite ridiculous (in a good way). So he'll take some vacation, decide what he wants to do and he's happy with the way things have worked out.

The reasoning for the jobs going away is still a little sketchy to me.

The Company Line is that they are positioning themselves for growth into the future. But it appears that most of the people cut (all of the people that I have heard of, anyway) are in product development. How a software company can grow while limiting the amount of things that can be made is not something I can understand but the people in position to make the decisions are there for a reason. I am not there, also for a reason.

Another thing that they are concerned with is Speed To Market. So basically, you take a code base and turn it into a product that people are willing to pay for. What is the way to do that? To me, it would be to
1) hire observers to see what the problem is (product management, User Experience, product development, operations, qa, etc.)
2) hire a consulting firm to reorganize processes for the functional group that is holding up the release to market
3) implement those procedures

In this case, I believe the issues lie with Operations. They have a large process that involves a lot of redundancy and CYA.

In the case of The Company, however, they have decided to remove PD resources and hire Ops people. I guess the way you make ops more successful is to remove more things from the pipe so that they can handle the load.

Again, I'm sure there are reasons for this but I will be darned if I can understand them and it's not like bosses make it a habit of explaining their reasoning.

Friday, July 04, 2008


575 is the number of employees who lost their jobs throughout Intuit inc. while I was on vacation.

60 is the number that were lost in my business unit.

1 is the number of people in my cube area.

Gustavo and Wenpan quit, which made the necessary cuts in our area lighter.

I doubt I'd have my job if they hadn't quit.

Thank you, gentlemen.

(rant to come)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


So, lately, I've been practicing on the guitar that Kim so lovingly gave me for Christmas. It's an Aria acoustic guitar, six strings, frets all over the place, some turny knobs at the top that tune the guitar, and some other technical stuff like a nut, a neck and some other things.

Lately, I've decided that I want to learn how to actually play this thing. I mean, it looks pretty good propped up against the bookshelf in the office, but that really doesn't do anything for the sound.

So, I had to overcome a hurdle. One of the frets sounded just like the fret beside it on the high "E" string. I looked the problem up on the internet (thank you, Al Gore!) and apparently, it's called dead fret. I googled those very words (thank you Larry Page) and one possible reason is that the fret became separated from the neck and could be put back in place with some taps from a plastic headed hammer. The flashlight is plastic, so I smacked it against the fret a little and it worked.

Next came finding resources to learn how to play guitar. I googled "Guitar Lessons for the Absolute Beginner" and came to which has ... you guessed it. Guitar lessons for the absolute beginner.

So now I'm getting more familiar with the notes on the fretboard, scales (major and minor, for now), chords (which are way harder than scales, at least at this point) and picking and strumming techniques.

So far, I can play "Mary had a little lamb", "Twinkle Twinkle" and I'm scratching my way through "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

It's a bit of an obsession with me right now and it's nice to actually be able to tell that I'm making progress.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Just Press End

If you are interested in seeing what I'm reading, what I've read recently or what I'm looking forward to reading, at the bottom of the blog is a nifty widget that links to Visual Bookshelf, which is a Facebook app. I'm usually pretty good at keeping it up-to-date.

So check it out. Or don't. The choice is yours!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Beaver Camp

So, I thought I was going to write about the rest of my Chicagoland trip here but since it’s basically all technical in nature, I figured I would leave it for Intuitive Techniques if I ever get back to updating that site.

Anyway, we went to Beaver Camp last weekend, the culmination of the Beavering year. (And also my last official act as a Beaver leader. Next year I get to hold the reins of the Cub Pack as Akela.)

We stayed at Camp Maskepatoon, just off of Pigeon Lake. Actually on the shores of Pigeon Lake.

Hm… highlights…

- Hawkeye dropping the sister of one of our Beavers into the lake and then running like a coward. (We’ve got video evidence)

- Lily and Kim’s boat ride

- The birth of the BubbleStar Galactica (pictures to follow at some point) and The Holder – Nick’s boat

- A campfire where nothing went very right but nothing went terribly wrong

- Capture the flag with the most cheating per game (CPG) that I have ever seen.

- Soccer where Granny shone and I kicked a ball at a 12 year old harder than I should have.

- Archery that left a bruise on my forearm. At least it didn’t stay all raised and bumpy.

- Pouring from a big pot, out of a ladel. (Give a couple seconds after your first dip. It lets the grounds settle a little)

- Puerto Rico – an exciting game where the Liam plantation outlasted the Rob and John plantations to secure the victory.

- Chopping wood


- Scraping congealed fat off of the hood fan with first a chef’s knife and then a metal egg-flipper

- Cleaning toilets and mopping the bathroom, wearing soggy socks

All in all, it was another great camp. Here’s looking forward to Cubs next year!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calgary in Flames

This is a small piece that is a modification from a dream I had. Actually, the only thing that I really remember from the dream that I actually used in the story was the buildings in flames. And I think it was a job interview.
The city burns. Great gouts of fire consume skyscrapers whole. I sit, watching the world explode, chatting idly with a woman who is not my wife.

Romantic? No. But was it? Things are ever ephemeral here. All but the fire. It has spread now. Or has it been spread? The cause seems fuzzy but the fact of it only looms larger. And yet, while I panic, I watch it unconcerned, sharing a drink with a woman who is not my wife.

Eric jerked awake. He remembered only the blind panic of a few moments ago. Then the panic subsided and details faded into dim recollections. Already he could only remember a false-looking fire engulfing the Calgary Tower and the camera of his mind panning out to see that the fire was seen through a large window. Continuing to pan, the next thing his mind’s eye saw was a coffee table, two people sipping a drink amicably while the fire spread to a nearby building. Not spread. That was not right. The other building spontaneously combusted. The whole thing.

The power of the dream began to fade and Eric started to drift back into sleep. He rolled into the heat of his wife’s sleeping frame. She sighed and put her arm around him unconsciously and they drifted back to sleep. Eric would remember nothing of the dream the following day or for the rest of July. It all came slamming back into him, however, on the tenth of August, the day he met the woman from his dream.

So, whatchya think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chicago, Chicago, that Toddlin’ Town [Part One]

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that not only encourages its employees to get training, but hounds them into it. Also, they feel it is important for their developers to be certified in what they do. To the point of hounding them about it.

So I decided to combine the two, taking Java Boot Camp training in Chicagoland.

Saturday, I dropped my wife and children off at the airport, early early. I had big plans for the day, such as making the house uninhabitable for a week (like, so nothing would spoil, rot or stink when we all got home). Most of these I accomplished, but I also got to play tennis with Atti for the first time in six years, visit my family and have Rob over for some intense Mario Kart action!

Then I completed my cleaning duties and finished packing. I had time for a shower and some last-minute preparations before it was off to the airport.

I arrived at the airport two hours before my flight because of some problems checking in online. I am a paranoid traveler and I wanted to be there to be able to circumvent any potential problems with the ticket well in advance.

No problem. I checked in and waited, half-sleeping, half-reading and half looking out the window to see if I could see Cliff loading my plane. (“That’s right, monkey, get to work!” I would have shouted if I’d seen him, even though I know he wouldn’t have been able to hear me. I believe he still would have known I was yelling at him.) Finally, I hear my flight number called out for a different ramp. What the…? I grabbed my bags and sprinted down the hall, staggering to a halt, muttering apologies that I thought it was a different ramp and they said that it was no big deal that it happens all the time. Well, they dealt with it better than I did.

The flight consisted of me turning pages in The Bonehunters, a quick nap and watching The Golden Compass, which lasted just until we landed in Toronto. I did not know where to go, but I got oriented fairly quickly and made my way to the international flights area. Three minutes too late.

I was held back from the flight because there was not enough time to get from one place to the other and so, I was put on a second flight. I was in line to get my boarding pass when that flight was canceled. So, they were saying that the next flight would be at 7:00 the next morning. Inconceivable! However, waited in line until my turn to book whatever flight awaited me.

The guy at the front looked about two steps away from a vein popping in his head and I commiserated with him about the stress of being the only guy in line. He laughed. I feel we bonded. And it was all a mistake. I was apparently booked on a different plane that would leave in an hour and a half. All good things! So I thanked my new best friend and went off to turn some more pages while I waited for my plane to board.

The bad: About a half-hour after I sat down to wait for the plane, I looked up and noticed that the takeoff time was different than it had been. Departure was delayed by another two hours. Ah well, there was time to get a burger, and continue on my quest to polish off Steven Erikson’s sixth literary behemoth. (Really, that sucker is 1200 pages!)

The good: Apparently I did bond with that check-in clerk type guy. I was bumped up to first class where the seats are extra wide (my bum thanks that check-in clerk – but not in the way you’re all thinking), the drinks come in glass tumblers and the televisions apparently have no sound. I was going to watch Chuck but there was, as I said, no sound, so I turned, once more to The Bonehunters.

I have no idea what time the flight touched down – it was something like seven o’clock or something in Chicago time, which would have been 6 our time. I wandered over to where taxis are and waited in a line about 25 people long. It would have been distressing if there hadn’t been in the neighbourhood of thirty or forty cabs waiting. The driver drove me, though he grumbled about leaving the airport area and lost revenue for awhile. Then when we finally reached the hotel (after a couple of wrong turns and a phone call to the hotel itself) he informed me that the credit card machine was broken. Marvelous.

So, we found a Mac’s that had ATM and I paid him, grumbling to myself about his incompetence while, I’m sure, he was still grumbling about being so far away from O’Hare. Whatever. You drove, I paid. Can we just get over it now? And so, I checked into my hotel around 8:30.

So, the first day of my travel, I left my house at 5:00 am on no sleep and arrived at the hotel at 8:30 local time. And I turned down a direct flight to Chicago because I would have had to get up too early. I cost myself probably six hours or more in travel time.

That’s all for now. Later, I’ll tell about the actual training itself.